Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Saints and sanctity present a unique aspect of Catholicism. Just this week, on July 14 we celebrated the feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk-Algonquin young woman born in the 17th century known for her life of patience and heroic virtue. The next day, on July 15 we celebrated a St. Bonaventure, a 13th century medieval philosopher known for his philosophical investigations and deep faith. What could be a greater contrast than these two people?
One of the importance aspects of sainthood is revealed in this contrast. Sanctity reveals how the truths of the faith can be lived out in different ways and different times. There is no doubt that the philosophical distinctions identified by Bonaventure would have left Kateri a bit confused (as they did me when I did my undergraduate philosophy) however both would have met on common ground with a discussion of love of Christ and his Church.
In the person of a saint we see the union of the particular and the universal. Each saint reflects a particular culture as well as the universal experience of Christ. Saints are attractive to us because they reflect some of our own specific concerns yet ground these concerns in a universal experience. Thus saints provide for us an image of the mystery of an all present and powerful God known in a specific time and place. Of course the ultimate image of this relationship is Christ himself. Saints provide a reflection of this union and help us to realize that we are called to this same union with the divine, or sanctity, as well.